Operation Pyrsos

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Operation Pyrsos
DateAugust 8–30, 1949
Location
Grammos and Vitsi, West Macedonia, northwestern Greece
Result National Army victory, end of the Greek civil war
Belligerents
Provisional Democratic Government (Democratic Army of Greece)
 Albania (assistance until August 25)
Kingdom of Greece (National Army)
Commanders and leaders
Nikos Zachariadis Alexander Papagos
Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos
Strength
at least 6,912 50,000 (6 divisions)
artillery
50 aircraft
Casualties and losses
2,280 dead
about 3,000 wounded
1,632 prisoners and deserters
3,960

Operation Pyrsos (Greek: Επιχείρηση «Πυρσός», "Torch") was the final campaign launched by the National Army of the internationally recognized Greek government against the communist forces during the Greek Civil War. After the success of the preceding Operation Pyravlos, communist forces in central Greece had been defeated and only the mountain strongholds of Grammos and Vitsi in northwestern Greece remained under their control. Yugoslavian assistance to the communists had come to an end in February 1949 amid the Tito–Stalin split. The National Army launched a diversionary attack on Grammos and their main force at Vitsi. Five days of fighting cost the National Army 1,682 casualties. 1,182 communists were killed in action and over 1,000 wounded were evacuated across the Albanian border. On August 25, following a massive attack by the National Army with aircraft and artillery, the Albanian government of Enver Hoxha cut off its assistance to the Greek communist forces and disarmed the Greek communists on its territory. The operation ended at 10 am on August 30. The Greek communists formally surrendered in mid-October, ending the Greek Civil War.

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